Whitbread share price falls as Q1 sales disappoint

on Jun 16, 2015
Updated: Oct 21, 2019
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Whitbread’s (LON:WTB) share price fell this morning, after the UK’s largest hospitality group posted its first-quarter trading update. The group’s like-for-like sales rose 4.3 percent in the 13 weeks ended May 28. The figure was well below market expectations, as analysts had predicted a gain of 5-5.5 percent.

Whitbread’ two core businesses continued to grow strongly in the first quarter. Underlying sales at the group’s Premier Inn hotel chain rose 6.3 percent in the period, with new openings helping total sales rise 14.3 percent. Total Costa Coffee sales grew 17.2 percent and five percent on an underlying basis. Whitbread noted that it remained on track to open 5,500 new Premier Inn rooms in the UK and 250 new branches of Costa Coffee around the world.
The restaurants division proved a drag on the group, posting just 0.1 percent like-for-like sales growth. The unit, through which Whtbread operates under the Beefeater, Table Table, Brewers Fayre and Taybarns chains, increased total sales by 1.6 percent.
“Our restaurants business operates almost entirely outside the M25 and the pub restaurant business has been really quite soft since the new year,” said Andy Harrison, Whitbread’s chief executive.

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The FTSE 100-lsted hospitality group also announced that it had brought forward the start date for its new chief executive Alison Brittain. The Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY) executive will join Whitbread as CEO designate on September 28 and replace outgoing boss Harrison in December — a month earlier than originally planned.
Whitbread’s share price opened lower this morning. By 09:00 BST, the stock had fallen 1.35 percent to stand at 4,970.00p.
As of 09:37 BST, Tuesday, 16 June, Whitbread plc share price is 4,978.00p.

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